Three new coronavirus variants confirmed in São Paulo

The South African variant is believed to be the most alarming

Published in 27/04/2021 - 15:50 By Elaine Patricia Cruz - São Paulo

Three new variants of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in São Paulo state through diagnosing tests conducted by Butantan Institute. They are variant B.1.318, found in Switzerland and the UK; South African B.1.351; and N9, a mutation of Amazon variant P1, observed in a number of Brazilian states.

The South African variant, Butantan reports, is the most alarming one. The other two are variants of interest—they are monitored carefully, but are not likely to lead to a possible aggravation of the pandemic. The institute also said it is still early to state that these variants are more transmissible or aggressive than Brazilian variants P1 and P1.

“These studies show that there are several variants in São Paulo. We need contention policies and we must keep distancing so that we don’t do around spreading variants,” said Butantan’s Scientific Development Center vice-Director Maria Carolina Sabbaga.

The rise of new variants sparks concerns across the world as they might be more transmissible and deadly. They may also prove more resistant to inoculation.

The mutations of the novel coronavirus, Butantan added, indicate that the pandemic is far from being controlled. As a result, people must wear masks, keep their hands clean with water and soap or hand sanitizer, and observe social distancing.

Variants of concern

According to São Paulo’s Health Secretariat, three variants are currently viewed as variants of concern across the world due to the evidence of increase in transmissibility or severity. They are P1 (from Manaus state), B.1.17 (UK), and B.1.351 (South Africa).

A total of 114 autochthonous cases of these three variants were confirmed in the state by Monday (26), 102 of which P1, also as per official data. Autochthonous here means that transmission took place locally, with no history of travel to other regions.

CoronaVac

Studies have shown that CoronaVac, the vaccine produced by Butantan Institute with China’s Sinovac, is efficient against mutation D614G, prevalent worldwide today and shared by lineages B.1.1.28—from which stem Amazon’s P.1, Rio de Janeiro’s P.2, and B.1.1.33 (the source of N9).

A preliminary study conducted on more than 67 thousand health professionals in Manaus who had a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 showed that the vaccine has 50 percent efficiency against P.1, 14 days after the application of the first dose.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Lílian Beraldo / Nira Foster

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